Many credit cards have reward schemes, where you earn points for spending money. These points can be redeemed for goods and services. Credit cards with Marriott Rewards gives you access to a range of perks and bonuses associated with the Marriott hotel chain.
We’re going to look at the Marriott Rewards program, including:
- Examples of some of the benefits this membership scheme gives you access to
- Potential limitations of the scheme
- Additional key facts about Marriot Rewards you should be aware of before signing the dotted line
What are credit card rewards?
Credit card reward schemes like Marriott Rewards are designed to reward the credit card owner with points for money they spend through the card. These points can ultimately be redeemed for goods and services, on anything from hotel stays to airline flights, and provide an incentive for credit card users who are making frequent purchases.
The trade-off generally comes in higher interest rates and fees, but if you are comfortable with this and capable of meeting your repayment obligations, credit cards with reward schemes can be an attractive option.
What sort of benefits can I receive through Marriott Rewards?
If you’re a frequent traveller, the Marriott Rewards credit card might be right up your alley. There are a range of perks and bonuses open to credit card reward scheme members who stay at Marriott hotels, or hotels operated by scheme partners like the Ritz-Carlton, AC Hotels and Residence Inn. These credit card perks and benefits include:
- Hotel perks – Marriott Rewards members have access to a range of hotel perks including room upgrades and internet access. Top-tier Marriott rewards members can also unlock free breakfasts, hotel lounge access and frequent flyer benefits.
- Lower rates – Travellers who are part of the Marriott Rewards program also have exclusive access to lower hotel rates when staying at participating venues. These rates generally can be accessed when you book directly with Marriott, or through approved travel professionals.
- Additional perks – If you have a Marriott Rewards credit card you also have access to a range of additional bonuses, like exclusive travel rewards programs, gift cards at a range of major retailers and brands, select travel packages and priority pass options.
How do you earn Marriott Rewards points?
Credit card holders who are part of the Marriott Rewards program have a range of ways to earn Marriott Rewards points and unlock the benefits of this credit card rewards scheme:
- Stay at a Marriott-branded hotel – Marriott Rewards scheme members get points for staying at Marriott-branded hotels and participating Ritz-Carlton locations around the world. The amount of points you earn depends on where you’re staying and the sort of accommodation you’ve booked at the participating hotel.
- Make purchases at Marriott Rewards partners – The Marriott Rewards scheme has a range of partners which can provide a useful way to accumulate more points. Making purchases through travel companies like Hertz and CruisesOnly can be a quick way to accumulate more points and get you closer to the credit card rewards schemes benefits.
- Book events with a Marriott-branded hotel – Booking an event with a credit card that’s part of the Marriott Reward scheme can also be a way to earn points quickly. This can be useful for business travellers, or even people planning big events like a wedding reception.
- Inviting friends to join – You can also earn extra Marriott Rewards points by inviting friends to join up to the scheme, entitling you to a sign-on bonus.
How do you use Marriott Rewards points?
Once you’ve accumulated enough Marriott Rewards points, you have a range of redemption options to unlock the perks and benefits of this credit card rewards scheme. These include:
- Free nights – You can use the points accumulated through the Marriott Rewards scheme to book free hotel stays at participating accommodation outlets.
- Room upgrades – Points earned through the Marriott Rewards scheme can also be put towards room upgrades for a better view or a larger suite.
- Extra perks and bonuses – Marriott Rewards points can also be put towards extra perks and bonuses such as travel experiences, priority treatment and exclusive access.
How long do Marriott Rewards last?
One important point for anyone who is considering signing up to the Marriott Rewards scheme is the potential for your credit card reward points to expire. And with Marriott Rewards, it really is a case of use your points or lose them. Marriott Rewards expire after 24 months without any qualifying activity. A qualifying activity could be marking a purchase with your Marriott Rewards card, taking a paid stay at one of the participating hotels or redeeming the points on your card.
Can I transfer my rewards points?
It is possible to transfer points you’ve earned through the Marriott Rewards scheme to other Marriott Rewards members, but there are some strict limitations in place. You can transfer anywhere from 1,000 points to a maximum of 50,000 points per year for a small transaction fee, unless you’re a Gold or Platinum Elite member who can transfer points for free. In some cases, if transferring points to satisfy a specific award, you will be able to exceed the 50,000-point limit.
What are the pros and cons of credit card reward schemes?
Before signing up to a credit card that uses the Marriott Rewards scheme, it’s useful to acquaint yourself with the general pros and cons of credit card reward schemes.
- Rewards – This is probably a bit of a given, but the perks are the main drawcard of rewards credit cards. These products typically give members exclusive access to perks like merchandise, travel bonuses and cashback discounts off purchases.
- Bonus points – Some rewards cards offer bonus points just for signing up.
- Tangible savings – If you’re loyal to a specific brand represented by the reward scheme, rewards credit cards can help you make tangible savings as a returning customer.
- Extras – Rewards credit cards often give you access to extras like travel insurance, cashback offers and exclusive discounts on related products.
- Incentive to spend – With the promise of more points for spending more money, reward credit cards can sometimes encourage dangerous spending habits.
- High fees and interest rates – Rewards credit cards often have high interest payments and high annual fees. Unless you’re paying off your balance in full every month, the incentive of the reward could be nullified by the extra payments you’re making.
- Restrictions – Another sticking point can be the restrictions on the type of purchases that will allow reward scheme members to earn points, which is why it’s important to understand whether the reward credit card will complement your lifestyle.
- Point capping and expiry – Many reward-based credit cards have point-capping regulations that restrict the amount of points you can earn in a year, and regulations that have points expire after a certain amount of time. These factors have the potential to undermine the value of your reward credit card.